Who are you and your current job?
Mike Patriquin and Mike Gripp are respectively the founder/General Manager and Founding Brewmaster
What was the inspiration behind your brewery?
Mike Gripp was a red seal welder that grew weary of the cyclical nature of the trades and originally from Oregon, had a strong passion for brewing. Mike Patriquin was an economist and business consultant that had his fill of working for the government and also had a strong passion for craft beer and was ready to do something more tangible. Five of the six founding members of Hell’s Basement Brewery are long time residents of Medicine Hat and Mike P was the new guy having met the other founders at the Medicine Hat Beerfest in October of 2015. Promises were made and the brewery was set to open by October of the following year. We did it even faster. With the support of a community behind us and a key group of local suppliers and contractors, we managed to brew beer and open our doors on August 12, 2016. With a 20 bbl brewhouse and 4 fermenters, we launched with four flagship beers. Medicine Hat was very receptive and they drank us dry in short order! The two double batch 40bbl fermenters that were ordered to factor in a first-year expansion were put into production in week 2!
Hell’s Basement Brewery was founded off of a quote by the British author Rudyard Kipling, who on his travels across Canada, stopped in Medicine Hat and described the area as having “All Hell for a Basement”. We also happen to be self-proclaimed hopheads hence our flagship IPA carrying the title of “All Hops for a Basement”! Allo of our flagship beers and even our seasonal beers have stories tied to our local lore.
Can you give us a tour of your beer scene?
Alberta is in the midst of a craft beer boom after recent changes to government regulations around minimum production. We were the first craft microbrewery to open in Medicine Hat since the days of prohibition. There is now a second craft brewery in the Hat and rumors of a third brewery on the way. Mega beer still dominates the local scene, but the reception to fresh local craft beer was even better than expected and expansion plans are already underway. The local craft beer scene is in its infancy, but we fully expect it to grow quickly as the residents of Medicine Hat take great pride in supporting locally made products!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a brewery?
Our best advice about starting a brewery is to have a clear vision, a strong team, and great beer! Craft brewing is a dream come true, but not every moment is easy and a strong foundation is paramount!